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  1. #1
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    "the" before proper nouns

    I read the following sentence from a book:

    We live near the Hong Kong Space Museum.

    Grammar books tell us that we don't need to use "the" before proper nouns. I think the above phrase in bold is a proper noun. Why do they use "the" before a proper noun?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: "the" before proper nouns

    Because it is effectively talking about the museum which is called "Hong Kong Space Museum". However, it is also possible that the name of the museum is "The Hong Kong Space Museum". If that is the case, then "the" should have been capitalised in that sentence.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
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    Re: "the" before proper nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Grammar books tell us that we don't need to use "the" before proper nouns.
    That depends on context:

    The Prague I live in is rather different from the Prague I first visited in 1996.

  4. #4
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: "the" before proper nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Because it is effectively talking about the museum which is called "Hong Kong Space Museum". However, it is also possible that the name of the museum is "The Hong Kong Space Museum". If that is the case, then "the" should have been capitalised in that sentence.
    Thanks, ems.

    I still don't understand.

    In Hong Kong, we have only one Space Museum which is called "Hong Kong Space Museum". Can I ask a silly question as follows:

    We went to the Hong Kong Ocean Park yesterday. (Can we say it is effectively talking about the park which is called "Hong Kong Ocean Park".

  5. #5
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    Re: "the" before proper nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Can I ask a silly question as follows:

    We went to the Hong Kong Ocean Park yesterday. (Can we say it is effectively talking about the park which is called "Hong Kong Ocean Park".
    Yes.

    That was not a silly question. If you are not sure about something in English, then post your question here. We regard no questions as silly - except those posted by the trolls who think it's clever to waste our time.

  6. #6
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    Re: "the" before proper nouns

    The use of articles is very hard. Some proper nouns have them as part of their names, and some do not. The Pacific Ocean, but Lake Louise. The Nile River, but Mount Everest.

    The United States, but Mexico and Canada.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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